Some say that eyes are the windows to the soul. The same can be said for a cat’s coat, as it turns out. So if a cat has recently seemed as though she isn’t in good health, here are some things to look for.
What a Healthy Coat Is
A healthy coat should have a good shine to it. It shouldn’t feel coarse. The skin under the hair shouldn’t feel greasy, dandruffy or bumpy like gooseflesh.
If it’s looking a little matte rather than glossy and if the cat is spreading dandruff, you should be on the lookout for other symptoms of ill health. Learn more about what a healthy coat should look like here.
In order to keep skin and fur healthy, a cat needs a properly balanced diet. Cats are carnivores, so any cat food you buy should list meat as the primary ingredient.
Some studies show that canned food best replicates what cats would eat in the wild, as it has added moisture, but canned or dry, make sure the cat is getting enough protein and amino acids.
If a cat is getting poor nutrition, there is a risk that the liver and kidneys could overwork themselves or even shut down from having to work harder to process the filler-packed foods.
Though foods should be tailored to a cat’s age group and other health needs, protein should always be the first ingredient in cat food.
Unsure about how a cat is doing on her food? Look at her fur. A cat getting poor nutrition will have a dull, coarse coat, and will shed more frequently than usual.
Other Health Concerns
If a cat is sick or stressed, it can show up in her fur, especially if she’s had an illness for a long time. Many cats shed excessively when they’re stressed out or under duress.
Though cats aren’t human, they’re not exempt from maladies like hormone imbalances, metabolic problems, digestive disturbances such as chronic diarrhea, parasites, FIV and cancer.
If your cat has a skin condition, it will frequently show up as dullness, itchiness and patches of missing fur.
What Grooming Does for a Cat
Though cats are self-cleaning, all cats can benefit from grooming. Regular grooming keeps dirt and external parasites out of the fur and helps to distribute skin oils evenly.
Long-haired cats or cats with an unusual fur texture (like curly) need to be brushed daily to keep their hair from getting matted or tangled. Brushing also cuts down on hairballs, as a brushed cat is swallowing fewer loose hairs when she grooms herself with her tongue.
Daily grooming also cuts down on the amount of hair and pet dander floating around.
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